>> Sunday, December 21, 2008
The following are real conversations that I have been part of since I started this blog...
- Woman 1: I've been looking on Craigslist for a bike for my son's birthday.
- Woman 2: Why are you looking on Craigslist? You can get a brand new bike from Walmart for $40.
- Woman 3: Because it was built by some little ten-year-old in Guatemala.
- Woman 2: Well, yeah, but that's not our fault. We're only pawns in the system.
- Woman 1 and Woman 3: Yeah, you're right.
- Man 1: Did you hear Bob's trying to sell his Prius?
- Man 2: What would you need a Prius for right now with gas prices at $1.50?
- Woman: How's your green blog going?
- Me: It's going great.
- Woman: I could never go green.
- My sister: You know, Erin, sometimes it's just better not to know.
I never know what to say in these situations. What I really want to say is, "No, no, no! You don't have to be a pawn in the system and just because gas prices are lower doesn't mean climate change has gone away and how can you not go green and it's better to know about things so you can change them!"
But except for my sister, the other comments were made by people I don't know well, and I don't want to offend them or be pegged as "that weird lady with all those weird opinions."
Or the other reaction I get from people when I start talking about environmentalism or social responsibility is that their eyes glaze over and I can tell they're not really listening. I don't think I'm that boring - it's just that most people don't want to hear it.
I've had this dilemma ever since I became a vegetarian. I've found that when people ask, "Why are you a vegetarian?", they don't want to hear the real answer. I even had a friend in college who became antagonistic about my vegetarianism once I explained about factory farms, and it led to the erosion of our friendship.
After enough negative responses, I started replying, "I decided that with all of our modern conveniences, it wasn't necessary to kill animals to eat." This answer satisfies most people without riling them up and potentially spoiling the evening, but it also has never ever made anyone consider going vegetarian.
I guess I've always been of the "lead by example" opinion, but I'm starting to think maybe that's not enough. You can't force people to change, but how do you convince them to want to?